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Our History

little girl learning in sunlightIn January of 1999, a group of educators and parents began brainstorming their vision of education. Influenced by the research into and practice of developmentally-appropriate education, as well as by their own children’s educative experiences, the group came up with what remain key Attic tenets: developmentally-appropriate education, no rewards or punishments, multiage classrooms, child-centered curriculum, and time for childhood.

The Attic’s founding members (Pat Orrell, Shelley Maurer, Tracy Ruef, Anna Boyd, and Liz Hunter) honed these ideas into The Attic’s Mission: Nurturing in children a sense of self and a passion for learning, community, and childhood.

HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS EXPANDED (PDF) >>

August 23, 1999

August 23, 1999

We established our Board of Directors & Advisory Board.

August 23, 1999
September of 1999

September of 1999

It all started in an attic with 16 kids and research guiding practice. Many Attic traditions were celebrated that first year: the Flowing Lake picnic, a Halloween haunted house, a winter Writer’s Night celebration and spring Interest Project event, a spring play, our first Attic Yearbook, and an end-of-year picnic at Blyth Park.

September of 1999
January of 2001

January of 2001

The Attic enrolled 23 kids, outgrowing the original attic and moving to a rented space in Lake Forest Park.

January of 2001
Fall of 2001

Fall of 2001

We hired our first non-founder teacher.

Fall of 2001
May of 2002

May of 2002

The Attic received its federal non-profit status, 501(c)3.

May of 2002
2003 Attic class
May of 2003

May of 2003

We acquired the Little Bear Creek site and increased enrollment to 42 students (ages 5-14) the following fall.

May of 2003
September of 2003

September of 2003

The Attic featured in Woodinville Weekly article.

September of 2003
May of 2004

May of 2004

First Annual Fundraising Auction cleared $26K and let us know that with the support of our “Friends and Families of the Attic”, the future of The Attic would be bright!

May of 2004
Fall of 2004

Fall of 2004

In the fall of 2004, we launched a rigorous Secondary Program (high school), with autonomy and self-knowledge as its key tenets. Teachers with passion for their subject area were attracted to The Attic’s educational philosophy.

Fall of 2004
Beloved class room aid, Grandpa Les, with The Attic primary class
Grandpa Les

Beloved classroom aid, Grandpa Les, poses with The Attic primary class.

Grandpa Les
May of 2007

May of 2007

Attic teens created their own BioTech class and participated in NW Student BioTech Expo.

May of 2007
October 27, 2007

October 27, 2007

The Attic hosted the first Pacific NW Homeschool College Fair.

October 27, 2007
2008 First Attic Graduation
May 27, 2008

May 27, 2008

First Attic graduation.

May 27, 2008
January of 2009

January of 2009

The Attic Board committed to dedicating the Annual Fund to need-based tuition assistance.

January of 2009
March of 2010

March of 2010

7th Annual Fundraising Auction grossed $121K.

March of 2010
2010 Attic graduations
May of 2010

May of 2010

Attic Class of 2010 Attic graduates soar.

May of 2010
Attic hero: Dr. Constance Kamii
March 8-10, 2011

March 8-10, 2011

We hosted an Attic hero: Dr. Constance Kamii.

March 8-10, 2011
Fall of 2011

Fall of 2011

Inspired by their interests, teens created our first Model UN class.

Fall of 2011
Field and Forest Outdoor Preschool tipi
Fall of 2011

Fall of 2011

The Attic’s Field & Forest Outdoor Preschool opened.

Fall of 2011
2012 Attic graduates
May of 2012

May of 2012

Attic Class of 2012 – Attic graduates confident to navigate their own path.

May of 2012
51st Ave property groundbreaking
March 16, 2013

March 16, 2013

Groundbreaking at 51st Ave. property.

March 16, 2013
February of 2014

February of 2014

We launched the Capital Campaign and raised over $1m to build phase 1 of our forever home.

February of 2014
Attic founders with Alfie Kohn
September 23, 2014

September 23, 2014

We hosted an Attic hero: Alfie Kohn.

Attic Founders were thrilled to co-host author and researcher, Alfie Kohn, whose research and ideas form many of the underpinnings of Attic practice.

September 23, 2014
North Campus construction
October of 2014

October of 2014

We began phase 1 of North Campus construction.

October of 2014
October 5, 2015

October 5, 2015

Official Opening Day in our new North Campus!

October 5, 2015
February of 2017

February of 2017

After 18 years of leading the Attic, Founding Director, Pat Orrell decided it was time for her to step down as Executive Director. Attic teacher John Anthony Bassett was hired as The Attic’s new Executive Director.

February of 2017
Summer of 2017

Summer of 2017

The Catalyst Team was created to focus on reaching beyond our four walls to positively impact education.

Summer of 2017
Teaching Team retreat
Summer of 2018

Summer of 2018

At our annual Teaching Team retreat (and every month, when we meet together as an entire Teaching Team), we celebrate our work for kids, focus on The Attic philosophy and values, and reflect on how those values are concretely put into practice in our classrooms.

Summer of 2018
Summer of 2019

Summer of 2019

Erika Wright was hired as Interim Executive Director and tasked with leading The Attic during a period of exciting new growth.

 

Summer of 2019
Today

Today

Serving nearly 100 kids ages 5-18, and 50 preschoolers, we continue to live our mission, to nourish our vision of Attic campus expansion and outreach beyond our four-walls, and to inspire others to re-imagine education with us. In a changing world, The Attic is a source of light and inspiration, offering our learners, families, and teachers the same core values we’ve always held: a sense of self and a passion for learning, community, and childhood.

Today
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Please make check payable to:

The Attic Learning Community

And mail to:

The Attic Learning Community
PO Box 1668
Woodinville, WA 98072

For more information, please contact the Development Office.